Here's an interesting idea: a woman decided to see if she could wear the same black dress for an entire year:
(CNN) -- One outfit at a time, Sheena Matheiken was determined to make a change
She sported a simple, tunic-style dress for not one, two or three days. She did it for 365 days in a row.
The New York resident gave herself the fashion challenge of reinventing the same black dress. She did it by adding colorful tights, funky shoes and patterned tops, all donations from eco-friendly designers, thrift shops and mail-in leftovers from strangers.
Her outfits varied. Some were random, others organized; some bright, others muted; some classic, others modern. For example, she dressed as an intergalactic goth mermaid one day. The next, she became a modern hippie adorned with a floral bandana and cutout tights.
Matheiken completed her yearlong Uniform Project this month; the effort started a year ago to raise money for the The Akanksha Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit helping children in India's slums attend schools. She raised enough money to send 233 children to school for a year.
Matheiken also wanted to bring awareness to sustainable fashion. That's not a bad lesson for those of us feeling the recession's pinch.
Now, Ms. Matheiken is a very small, "gamin" sort of woman, and even so I think the actual dress ought to have been at least knee-length. But it's the idea of this, more than the execution, that intrigues me, especially the concept of "sustainable fashion."
You might say that those of us living on one income have been practicing "sustainable fashion" for a long time--except we called the idea "hand-me-downs." Or "thrift-shop couture." Or "raiding the clearance rack off-season." Or...but you get the idea.
Still, without even realizing it a lot of us (well, me, anyway) have trouble keeping the clothing in our closet to a sane number of pieces. I'm inclined to blame the climate here in Texas--it's really hard to imagine how to wear the same article of clothing in 100 degree weather that I wore when it snowed back at Christmas; but in many ways I've learned to prune certain items from my wardrobe that I don't need often enough to justify owning. And it's not just the climate, as the Uniform Project demonstrates--a lot of it has to do with buying too many things that don't work together, and failing to invest in the good basic pieces from which a wardrobe can be built.
It would be interesting to think of the equivalent of Ms. Matheiken's black dress, only more suitable for homeschooling moms who are not young and gamin, and organize a wardrobe around it. If you were going to do something like this, what clothing item or items (up to three) would you choose?
I think I would chose a basic black mid-length skirt and a pair of black or navy blue slacks as the center pieces in a wardrobe of this kind. What about you? If you were going to attempt to create a "uniform," what would it be, and how would you do it?